How to Choose The Perfect Mattress and Not Get Ripped Off

Select a mattress with pocketed coils if movements in the bed disturb you.

You should dispose of your old mattress when it no longer provides comfort and support.  Ask the retailer who delivers your new mattress to pick up the old one or arrange with your local garbage sanitation service for pickup.

Buy a new mattress every five to seven years—this is the average length of time a mattress will provide support, according to The Better Sleep Council. 


  1. Decide on a mattress size before you shop. The Better Sleep Council reports that sleepers move 40 to 60 times per night. Allow space for movement within the bed and pick a mattress size at least six inches longer than you or your partner.
  2. Measure wall distances leading to the bedroom to ensure a successful delivery. Mattress sizes vary from a twin size of 38-by-75 inches to a California king size 72-by-84 inches.
  3. Don't spend additional money on a new set of box springs unless absolutely necessary. Check the wood on your current box springs for cracks or breaks. Inspect the springs and box springs cover. Reuse this set to save money.
  4. Determine what you can afford to spend before entering the store and speaking with a salesperson.
  5. Visit all local mattress retailers. Consumer Reports recommends shopping locally rather than online. Customers return mattresses more often when bought online.
  6. Ask the sales associate to guide you to the least expensive mattresses when you enter the store and test your way up in terms of cost. Lay on the mattress for 15 minutes or longer. Try out every sleep position. Your neck, shoulders and spine should be aligned as if you were standing up, according to Karen Mahoney from the International Sleep Products Association.
  7. Buy a higher-priced mattress with a less expensive box spring rather than buying the set. Use a bed skirt to cover the box springs if the fabric differs from your mattress.
  8. Haggle for a better price or ask for free delivery and old mattress pickup. Store pricing varies so don't be afraid to negotiate. Consumer Reports suggests getting a "no-substitutions clause" in the contract. This protects you from an equal exchange delivery should your ordered mattress be out of stock.
  9. Inspect your mattress upon delivery for tears or damage. Reject it and ask for a replacement if you find damage.
  10. Leave the tag on your mattress for warranty purposes. The tag identifies the construction materials of your mattress in case you need to bring concerns to the manufacturer.
  11. Tip

    Compare beds by construction rather than name-brands. Manufacturers modify the padding, quilting, pattern and color of their innerspring mattresses for different retailers.


    Encase your new mattress into a bedbug resistant cover. New mattresses are stored in the delivery truck alongside old mattresses that may be contaminated with bedbugs.

About the Author

An avid gardener, crafter and artist, Elaine Bolen turned her love for art into a BFA degree from the University of Kansas. Bolen became self-employed in real estate and worked in a nursery. An interest in sewing and crafting led her to sell items in arts and craft shows.

Photo Credits

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